Cashier no.9

Danny Todd's five-headed folktronic creation beams down otherworldly pop to Radio K

Once in a blue moon the chilly, dimly-lit basement of McHugh's bar in Belfast becomes a cosy nest for live music fans, as Radio K organisers pull in one act to host an intimate, pre-club show. Previous invites were extended to Fight Like Apes, Wild Beasts and Oppenheimer. Tonight, off the back of two support slots for French duo Air at Dublin's Olympia, it's the turn of the Belfast's favourite, nay only, psychedelic pop outfit.

As the Carryduff lads take to the hypothetical stage – positioned at floor-level between bar and toilet – the crowd congregate to perhaps discover what tunes have made it onto Cashier no.9's recently completed, but as-yet-unreleased LP.

The unexpected pop sparkle of synth-strong opener 'Goldstar' exhibits a departure from the rustic material we're used to hearing from Todd et al, although it's not an unwelcome change of direction.

Flighty keyboard melodies underpin the new sound courtesy of recent recruit from Yakuza, Ronan Quinn, while Todd's lyrics introduce some intriguing characters: 'So I work hard and I yeah got my dough/I take the beatings wherever I go/down on the streets they're talking/I feel their eyeballs gawking/I look better with my high heels on'.

'Jump The Queue', perhaps the closest to a traditional ol' country number in the band's arsenal, gets feet tapping as McHugh's is treated to background visuals from The Big Lebowski – Todd, no doubt identifying with the Coen's ability to blur genres, a skill he displays with ease in his songwriting.

Balancing out the by-now-anthemic singles is no easy task, and so new tunes 'Flick Of The Wrist' and the heavier 'Shame' prove a little hard to absorb. The melancholic santer of 'I Kid You Not' gives a bit of downtime before the stinging riff of 'Boom Boom Ha Ha' and the whistle blast of '42 West Avenue' roll round with the small audience finding their earlier tentativeness lifted.

Although stage presence is a little stale Todd, sporting Doc Martens and turn-ups, occasionally steps into the crowd, seemingly to monitor how the songs sound beyond the towering speakers that almost obscure drummer Philip Duffy.

'My tunings gone,' says the frontman between tracks. Indeed, it's all a bit on-the-fly, but this is of little concern to the crowd as they mouth along with the infectious chant of 'The Lighthouse Will Lead You Out': 'This ain't the day...this ain't the day'.

Todd takes an Elliott Smith turn with 'Goodbye Friend', the initial slow build escapalting with a spiraling, heavy percussive stomp and ghostly vocals bouncing off the walls. The result is an exhilarating finale to an otherwise unassuming evening. 

In the words of Sam Elliott's laid-back southern narrator: 'Say, friend - you got any more of that good sarsaparilla?'

Eddie Mullan

Cashier no.9 headline the G Session at the Cellar Bar in Draperstown on March 8.